Just when you thought all was lost in the world of gluten free pizza crusts, out of nowhere appears Jules Thin Crust Pizza! Who are these people you ask? Well, it’s like this…
I was driving through the Ellisburg Circle Shopping center (Cherry Hill, NJ), where the new Whole Foods Market is located, and I noticed the new sign. I had to stop to ask the question… “Do you serve gluten free pizza?”. Lisa and I are always seeking out new (and safe!) places to take Giulia and Ava for an occasional meal out. As many of you will agree, not all places that advertise a gluten free menu are knocking our socks off, nor do they really understand the whole cross contamination thing. My timing was impeccable, for this was their Grand Opening day!
I walked in and was greeted by a very pleasant group of employees. The restaurant was very inviting and the front counter was loaded with options! The place smelled awesome! I introduced myself and asked the question… “do you have a gluten free menu?”. Inside my head, I had already answered with what I thought was the inevitable. But I was pleasantly surprised! The gentlemen behind the counter began to explain to me what was available, and that they could prepare vegan pizzas as well! Then I asked the followup “cross-contamination” question which was promptly answered with a clear and concise description of how the gluten free pizza is prepared here. Without prompting, I was then referred to the manager on duty to further discuss the process in detail. I was shocked at the level of understanding here! They are educated and able to meet the needs of folks with celiac disease or gluten intolerance!
“Gluten Intolerant? Vegan? Vegetarian? We have your back. Just look at our menus for all the different toppings we offer on 3 types of organic crusts (including our special gluten-free crust). JULES thin crust is much lower in fat than a conventional pizza. Good for every body and good for the environment. A win win!”
Let me share what I learned: First and foremost… there’s a dedicated prep area including a separate conveyer oven just for gluten free pizzas! Second, the dough is made from buckwheat and is hand rolled at the time of each order! Last, but not least, ALL of the available toppings are gluten free, must be organic, and locally sustainable!
I had the pleasure of speaking with John Ordway, Co-Owner and “Chief Tasting Officer” of Jules Thin Crust Inc. with his wife Jan, and you can feel his passion for this product resonate through every word. The idea for his restaurants came from something that Lisa and I, and I’m sure many of you as well, share as parents: the desire to find a safe and healthy place to eat with your children. That’s a unique undertaking for those with food restrictions like us. So the fact that the Ordway’s had the foresight to include gluten free options on their menu, with no family history of Celiac disease or a medically diagnosed need to eat a gluten free diet to influence their decision, speaks volumes to their desire to provide healthy eating options in a fast food setting.
It took 8 years to develop their gluten free crust, relying on family friends who have Celiac disease to give the final verdict. Buckwheat was the answer! Locally sourced in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, they get their supplies from a bakery called The Grain Exchange (the California restaurants are using a brown rice based recipe for their crusts). Buckwheat, which is not a grain at all, contains all of the 8 essential amino acids, is high in lysine, rich in Vitamin B, as well as magnesium, zinc, and copper. It may also lower glucose levels and lower blood pressure and reduces cholesterol.
The end result is a product that needs promoting. This is the first “gluten free” pizza we’ve had that wasn’t (A:) made on a frozen crust, (B:) crumbled when you picked it up, or (C:) tasted like cardboard! It is delicious! It acts like pizza dough so you can fold it in half, it doesn’t stick to your teeth, and it reheats incredibly well! Many of our followers know that we rely heavily on our daughter Giulia’s opinion when it comes to rating gluten free food. Never have we seen a critique from her like this. When I asked what she thought after her first bite, she looked over with wide eyes and said (pizza still in mouth) “my God…” followed by two thumbs up. Then silence… until she finished eating.